27. October 2009 10:05
Yesterday the Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, gave the keynote speech for the RSA/Intellect “Technology in a Cold Climate” symposium in which he outlined progress to date on the HMG data site.
“Information is the essential “raw material” of a new digital society, opening up solutions to these kind of challenges. And Government must play its part by setting a framework for new approaches to using data – and, as they say, “mashing” data from different sources to provide new services which enhance our lives. In particular, we want Government information to be accessible and useful for the widest possible spectrum of people.
That is why the Prime Minister asked Sir Tim Berners-Lee to advise on how Government can best use the internet to make non-personal public data as widely available as possible. We are supporting Sir Tim in a major new project, aiming for a single online point of contact for government data, and to extend access to data from the wider public sector. We want this project for “Making Public Data Public” to put UK businesses and other organisations at the forefront of the new semantic web, and to be a platform for developing new technologies and new services.”
So far our request for developers to “get excited and make things” has so far exceeded our initial expectations. Not only is the number of people signing up to the developer forum higher (currently more than 1,300), but also the discussion board is very active with a healthy list of ideas for the site and, perhaps most excitingly, a few applications are beginning to see the light of day.
Working in partnership with Guardian Professional, we held 3 developer days hosted at The Guardian's Kings Place offices in central London on the 14th-16th September. As an organisation they were best placed to help us undertake this task, having built a community of talented developers and opened up their API. You can have a look here at the excellent postcode paper concept and the rather wonderful traffic data visualisations here, which were just two of the many ideas for applications that emerged over the course of the camp. Ideas about their priorities for further data releases (to add to the 1,100 datasets currently on the site) were shared and important foundations for further iterations of the HMG Data site were laid.